Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
I don’t think I’ve ever felt wearier than I have these past six months. I don’t need to go into all the boring details. There hasn’t been a crisis or anything like that.
Jen has been dealing with ongoing health challenges and life has dealt us some unexpected blows. That’s all. Nothing crazy out of the ordinary. Just the hardness of life.
Except that I am.
I often feel like I’m carrying 10,000 spine-curling burdens.
I feel the weight of Jen’s discouragement over her chronic struggles.
I feel the strain of trying to get my kids to school and track and soccer, all while staying on top of homework and field trips and ensuring that everyone has both lunch and a snack in their backpacks (seriously, school is way too complicated these days).
I feel the burden of trying to determine what God has for us in the future.
And I feel the pressure that every self-employed person experiences (I’m a freelance writer).
None of these things is a particularly big deal on its own, but when they tag team and dogpile on top of each other, the result is consistent soul weariness. A profound malaise. A deep inner fatigue.
It’s the kind of tiredness that sleep can’t fix, the kind of worn-out-ness that a vacation won’t solve.
I need a solution that runs much deeper.
Come To Me All Who Are Weary
I’m so grateful for Jesus’ words when he says, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”
Weary and heavy-laden. Yup. I’d say that describes me pretty well. Scraped thin, like butter over too much bread. Unable to juggle all the balls and keep all the plates spinning.
I feel pretty much like this guy:
My sinful tendency is to try to bear all the burdens myself. Stiff upper lip, keep calm and carry on, that sort of thing. I try to buckle down and just get it all done. To suck it up and push through the tiredness.
I’m sinfully self-sufficient, thinking that I can make it on my own.
Of course, this doesn’t work particularly well. The result is that I feel staggeringly weary and heavy-laden.
It turns out that God never intended me to bear the burdens of life on my own. I can’t be the chief burden-bearer of my family, or even myself for that matter. If I try to carry all the weights and cares and burdens, I’ll end up being crushed.
God didn’t create me to live independently.
The hellish idea that I could do such a thing is a lie straight from Satan. It’s his ploy to wear me out and steal the joy of my salvation.
When I feel weighed down and stretched thin, that should be a red flag that I’m not heeding the words of Jesus: “Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden.” Instead of running to Jesus with every struggle and burden, I’m trying to handle everything myself. Trying to keep it all together with my own, extraordinarily limited strength.
In his wonderful book A Praying Life, Paul Miller says this:
The criteria for coming to Jesus is weariness. Come overwhelmed with life. Come with your wandering mind. Come messy. What does it feel like to be weary? You have trouble concentrating. The problems of the day are like claws in your brain. You feel pummeled by life. What does heavy-laden feel like? Same thing. You have so many problems you don’t even know where to start. You can’t do life on your own anymore. Jesus wants you to come to him…
The Simple Solution: Come To Jesus
Jesus’ solution for my profound soul-weariness isn’t complicated. He simply says, “Come to me, all who are weary.”
Come to Jesus. That’s it.
Notice that Jesus doesn’t offer practical solutions that will enable to me better juggle my responsibilities. He doesn’t want me to strive for a better work-life balance. He doesn’t prescribe seven habits that will make me highly productive. He doesn’t hand me a copy of the book Getting Things Done.
Instead, he says, “Come to me, all who are weary. Take my yoke upon you.”
Jesus is in the business of exchanging burdens. He wants me to bring all my burdens to him and exchange them for the light yoke that he offers.
In its original context, I believe Jesus is offering freedom from the burden of sin. In other words, we come to Jesus, burdened by our sin, and he offers us free forgiveness and the power to obey God’s commands.
But I think the application of this passage is bigger than just salvation. It seems to me that it’s also an apt description of the entire Christian life.
In 1 Peter 5:7, we are told to, “…[cast] all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”
…in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
The Christian life is one of total dependence on God. When Jesus says, “Come to me, all who are weary,” it’s because he doesn’t want me buying into the lie of independence. He doesn’t want me thinking that I can get by on my own, relying on my grit and grind and moxie.
I am a dependent creature, and feeling overwhelmed and weary is a sign that I’m trying to live an independent life.
In his book New Morning Mercies, Paul Tripp describes the lie of self-sufficiency like this:
…self-sufficiency, which tells me that I have everything I need within myself to be what I was created to be and to do what I was designed to do. The fact is that God is the only self-sufficient being in the universe. We were created for dependency, first on God and then on one another in loving community. We need to be taught, encouraged, warned, strengthened, forgiven, healed, restored, counseled, love, rebuked, and delivered – all things we cannot provide for ourselves. Human self-sufficiency is a lie.
The solution to my weariness isn’t to be better organized, more efficient, or more productive. And ultimately, the solution isn’t even different circumstances. A new set of circumstances wouldn’t erase the self-sufficiency which has wrapped itself around my heart.
The solution is to heed the sweet words of Jesus: “Come to me, all who are weary.”
I exchange my self-sufficiency for his all-sufficiency.
My weariness for his strength.
My brokenness for his wholeness.
My exhausti0n for his infinite grace.
Abide In Jesus
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.
When I’m weary and heavy-laden, the solution is to abide in Jesus. To draw near to Jesus. To cast all my burdens on Jesus.
This doesn’t mean that Jesus will necessarily change the circumstances and make everything okay. In fact, he probably won’t. It does mean that he will provide me with all-sufficient grace to bear fruit, even in the midst of exhausting, wearying circumstances.
Again, to quote A Praying Life:
If you try to seize the day, the day will eventually break you. Seize the corner of his garment and don’t let go until he blesses you. He will reshape the day.
I must learn to stop trying to seize the day, and instead to seize the corner of his garment.